• Wake-up call for DGCA

    The Jet Airways aircraft skidding off the runway in Goa and the near-collision of SpiceJet and Indigo planes at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport on Tuesday is symptomatic of the ills that are plaguing the functioning of the directorate-general of civil aviation, the country’s airline regulator.

    The DGCA is headed by an officer belonging to the elite Indian Administrative Service, who is usually clueless on aviation, and by the time he get somewhat familiar with his job he is moved out after completing his three-year tenure. The outfit is also grossly understaffed, and given the global boom in aviation, the infrastructure needed for safety and regulation is sorely lagging. Air Traffic Control, the most important link in this sector, is like the DGCA also hugely understaffed. This is a scary situation as ATC staff have to be alpha alert at all times. In the case of the two aircraft literally nose to nose on Tuesday, it were the pilots who realised the near-fatal situation and informed the ATC, that had merrily given both aircraft permission to move on the same runway. Mason Cole Authentic Jersey

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